Turn your trash into treasure

Your industry's trash may indeed be someone else's treasure, but how do you find that person?

The Indiana Waste Exchange Catalog could be the answer you've been looking for.  If you're disposing of materials you think might be useful to other companies, or you're looking for sources of raw materials to use in your own manufacturing process, the waste exchange can help.

The exchange is funded by the state of Indiana and overseen by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance.  It's operated under contract by Recycler's Trade Network, based in Carmel.

RTN collects listings of waste or excess materials available or materials wanted at no charge from material generators and consumers, such as industries and municipalities.  Listing are then compiled into a catalog, published every other month and mailed to interested corporations, municipalities and individuals across Indiana and elsewhere.

There's no charge for a catalog subscription.   The exchange is a vehicle for companies to find uses for materials that otherwise might be landfilled.  The hope is that one company's waste will be another company's raw materials.

Listings in the catalog don't include contact information.  To obtain that, you must work through RTN, using its fax, phone or fax data base system.  Because no contact information is provided directly, companies who wish to remain anonymous may do so.  it also allows RTN to track the effectiveness of the publication by recording the number of responses to listings.

Each edition of the catalog also contains informative waste-reduction articles, a calendar of upcoming events and a directory of other helpful organizations.

Catalog listings are also carried on a fax data base system.  This allows interested parties immediate access to information about the listings by calling either on their telephone or facsimile machine.  Requests are traced automatically by the fax system.

The fax data base operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week, allowing timely access for people who wish to trade faster-moving post-consumer materials such as plastics, paper, glass and metals.

To place a listing or to start receiving the catalog, contact Jim Britt, RTN president, P.O. Box 454, Carmel, IN 46032, or call 317-844-8764 or toll-free in Indiana 1-800-968-8764.

Informal waste exchanges

Some companies or communities also have informal waste exchanges.  Best Lock Corp., an Indianapolis manufacturer of master-keyed locking systems, has been selling material through a waste exchange since 1988.  Take a look at the highlights:

For more information, call David Benshoof at 317-849-2250.

Jefferson County has an environmental roundtable, made up of various community leaders.  The group meets monthly to talk about source reduction programs and activities.  However, its meetings have led to waste exchanges on more than one occasion:

For more information, call Dave Adams at 812-273-1622, extension 580.

More formalized efforts

PSI Energy's waste exchange started out informally but has grown into a specialized subsidiary that operates separately from the electric utility.

In 1985, when construction ended on PSI's Marble Hill nuclear station, the utility began an aggressive brokering effort to recoup some of its investment through resale of materials purchased for use at the plant construction site.  They were so successful that other companies  asked them to serve as brokers for their scrap and overstock.

Now, a full-fledged subsidiary operates out of the Madison Marble Hill site -- Power Equipment Supply Co.  PESCO has since acquired Ohio-based North American Machinery, which sells, refurbishes and services electrical-power equipment used in substations, power plants and other industrial operation.

For more information, call Vince Griffin, PSI environmental stewardship manager, at 317-838-1955.